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Published on January 18, 2016

pregnant woman taking vitamins

Maybe a Baby? Tips for a healthy pregnancy

“Maybe a Baby” presentations are designed to help potential parents make decisions now to benefit the health of both mother and baby, and prepare in other ways. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with physicians and other health care professionals in a casual setting.

For example, Avera OB care providers offer the following tips for planning for a successful pregnancy:

  • Plan a pre-conception visit with the health care professional you will see throughout your pregnancy. Have a complete physical examination
  • Talk about any prescription medications you or your partner are taking for a pre-existing medical problem, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
  • Review your family health histories, and know the ethnic origins of each parent. Certain tests are recommended if both parents are of Mediterranean, Jewish or African American descent.
  • Consider genetic counseling if you know of family history of genetic diseases, birth defects or miscarriage.
  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date.
  • Begin taking prenatal vitamins and a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms daily six months before conception.
  • Stop smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, illicit drug use or unnecessary medication use.
  • Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise:
    • Very underweight or overweight women have increased risk.
    • Increase folic acid consumption; eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables.
    • Avoid megadoses of any vitamins, especially A, B6, C, or D and iodine.
  • Avoid eating undercooked meat or sushi. Avoid cat litter or bird droppings to prevent exposure to toxoplasmosis.
  • Live as if you are pregnant before you conceive — most birth defects occur in the first six weeks after conception. You may not even know you are pregnant at that point.
  • The best prenatal care is pre-conception care. The best assurance of a healthy pregnancy is the good health of the mother and father.

Other Maybe a Baby topics include:

  • Financial planning
  • Healthy living and fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Childbirth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pediatrics/pediatric safety

Participants can tour the labor and delivery area at their local hospital. Refreshments and door prizes will be available.

“We cover lots of things that prospective parents might not think about – not only what the prenatal care and delivery is like, but also, things like financial planning, breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding, and even the cost of formula and diapers, which can be unexpected for new parents,” said Kimberlee McKay, MD, OB/GYN specialist with Avera Medical Group Obstetrics & Gynecology.

A diverse group of experts are on hand, so couples can get all their questions answered.

“It’s good for prospective parents to know what they can do to optimize a pregnancy before they ever conceive,” McKay said. “Ultimately, our goal is healthy moms, healthy babies and healthy families.”

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